Blowing the whistle on crime

The unfortunate reality is that many South Africans have been affected by crime in some way or another. “In fact,” says Gareth Bailey, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Address, whose office services the suburbs of Umhlanga, Berea, Glenwood, Kloof and Hillcrest, “For this reason, security has become one of the major contributing factors that influence where people chose to live.  The evidence of this can be seen in the demand for property within security complexes that offer multiple layers of security.”

He notes that while alarm systems can be an effective deterrent to criminal activity, people are generally so used to car alarms and house alarms being triggered accidentally, that they often do not respond. “Perhaps the reason for this is that these types of alarms are somewhat automated and various things can set them off such as pets, small animals, billowing curtains or even forgetfulness,” says Bailey. “While private security firms will respond to subscribers alarm signals, due to the large areas that are patrolled, the response time can often be delayed. Criminals are aware of this, and take advantage of both the apathy of neighbouring residents and the time delay in the arrival of the security firms.”

So what can South Africans do to make their community a safer place to stay? Bailey says that sometimes the best solutions are the simplest ones. “We are launching an initiative which involves distributing RE/MAX branded whistles to our clients and the public. The main idea is that these whistles can be used as a tool against crime by raising a response from people nearby in the event of a crime taking place,” he says. “Unlike alarm systems and other security devices, a whistle requires the personal act of blowing the whistle, indicating a real-time problem. The rate of response will further increase if people are educated about whistles being used to raise alarms for security threats. We intend to do just this through a series of newspaper advertisements and via word of mouth through the RE/MAX estate agent network.”

According to Bailey, blowing a whistle is an effective, inexpensive additional layer of security in a country which is very mindful of the need to be vigilant. “This idea would be most effective in higher density residential housing areas, such as sectional title units and freehold properties within proximity of one another. In these environments, the shrill of a whistle, especially to a primed ear, can be acted on immediately,” he explains.

RE/MAX Address will be distributing whistles to their clients as well as selected sectional title schemes and residents in their areas of operation. “We will also be going on a charity drive to sell whistles to the public where the proceeds will be going to the RE/MAX Foundation. Our commitment to giving back to the communities in which we operate is central to the RE/MAX Formula, which is our company’s operating philosophy. We will be channelling proceeds from the whistle sales to the RE/MAX Foundation, a registered public benefit organisation (PBO), which focuses on supporting a variety of worthy causes,” says Bailey.

“While there is no foolproof way of ensuring that a community will be crime free, being proactive and involved in the community is a step in the right direction of making each suburb safer,” he concludes.

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